A Wine Lover's Guide to Bulgaria

Courtesy of Villa Melnik
Courtesy of Villa Melnik
Photo of Maria Angelova
6 April 2017

If you’re a wine lover, you’ll fall in love at first sight with Bulgaria. Its climate, soils, and topography turn it into a perfect landscape for both local and international grapes. Meanwhile, many of the wineries open their doors for visitors and offer guided tours and opportunity to spend the night among the vineyards.

Bulgarian varietals to try

Bulgaria will enchant your senses with the rich aroma of its local grape varietals, some of them impossible to find anywhere else. Try Mavrud, one of the oldest red wine grapes, indigenous to the Thrace region in Bulgaria. Dimyat and misket (a type of muscat) are other traditional grapes; pamid has been grown here since the ancient Thracians. The Shiroka Melnishka (also known as broad-leaved Melnik) red grape is typical of southwest Bulgaria. In the mid-20th century, a number of experiments attempted to create a hybrid of Shiroka Melnishka, one that would be more stable in the local climate, and that’s how the early Melnik variety was born. In northwest Bulgaria, discover the gamza grape. You can also find wines from international grape varietals such as cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, merlot, etc.

Bulgarian wineries to visit

Villa Melnik

Villa Melnik is a family winery situated in the traditional wine region of Melnik. You can join a tour of the winery or, even better, add a wine tasting to your visit – Villa Melnik’s tasting room has one of the best views in the region. They organize events and celebration of traditional holidays in the winery, such as Trifon Zarezan (Day of the Winemakers, February 14) and July Morning (a Bulgarian tradition of greeting the sun on July 1). Villa Melnik is a 2.5-hour drive south of Sofia.

Courtesy Villa Melnik

Villa Yustina

You might forget many things from your trip to Bulgaria, but you will never forget the view from the top of the tower situated in the middle of the park-vineyard of Villa Yustina. You can stroll along the vines for free or join a wine tasting in the winery in Ustina village. The Rhodopes‘ mountain air is fresh and clean, so you can extend your stay here and spend the night in the village in the winery’s rental house.

Todoroff Wine & Spa

Todoroff Wine & Spa is a place where you can not only visit a winery and taste its wines but also indulge in a relaxing spa weekend, including a special wine spa. It’s in Brestovitsa village, just ten miles (15 km) from Plovdiv.

Courtesy Todoroff Wine & Spa

Bulgarian wine routes to follow

Melnik Wine Routes

The Melnik Region is famous for its wine production and local grape varietals, so it’s worth exploring more in depth. There’s a Melnik Wine Route Map that you can follow across the beautiful landscapes of Bulgaria’s southwest. While you’re here, don’t miss to visit the amazing natural phenomenon of the Melnik Pyramids.

Courtesy Melnik Wine Routes

Yakata Wine Routes

Yakata (or the Collar) is an area right under the Rhodope Mountains where a few wineries have joined efforts to create a wine route. You can easily spend a few days in the region enjoying a slow life – wine tastings, good food, cycling, and taking in the best nature has to offer. Villa Yustina, Kamenki, and Starata Izba Parvenetz are the three wineries that make up the route.

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